By Josh Beavers
Ten Webster Parish high school students are making it AHEC of a summer as they begin to learn the ropes of becoming a medical professional during training at Minden Medical Center.
“This is going to be a great summer,” Wendy Fields told us on the first day of the program last week.
Fields, who is a science teacher at Minden High School, serves as program coordinator with the school system. AHEC, which stands for Area Health Education Centers program, is a federally funded program established in the United States in 1972 “to improve the supply, distribution, retention and quality of primary care and other health practitioners in medically underserved areas.” That quote comes from the official AHEC homepage and sounds kinda stale. The reality is much more dynamic, Fields said.
“[So far students have] learned important HIPPA information and organ donation,” Fields told The Journal on the second day of training. “The first half of the day was CPR training and after lunch we started our bacteria projects.”
Minden Medical Center personnel including CEO Jim Williams have spoken with the young people about the importance of the program and encouraged them to continue in their medical career pursuits.
“AHEC provides high school students with an unforgettable experience in the medical field,” he told the Journal. “Students job shadow throughout the hospital, physician clinics, a local veterinary clinic, and a chiropractic clinic.”
Williams said students spend three weeks of their summer learning about medical careers that will prepare them for their future.
“The program also provides the students with 100 community service hours as well as a half unit of elective credit on their transcript,” he said. “MMC will provide the 2021 students with opportunities in areas such as orthopedics, respiratory therapy, women’s health, phlebotomy, surgery and cardiology. They will also earn CPR certification.”
Students have also been working through rotations, learning the proper way to take vital signs with machines as well as manually. Students have also practiced suturing on specially designed models.
The program will continue through July 2.
There are more than 300 AHEC programs nationwide.
Students from Minden High, Lakeside, and Glenbrook are participating this year.
Photo: Brianna Davis and Emalyn Anders are two of the ten Webster Parish students enrolled in this year’s AHEC of a Summer program at Minden Medical Center